Guitarist/vocalist Matt Heafy of Florida metallers TRIVIUM has posted the following message on his official blog:
“SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)
“The movement to end all online piracy for the music and movie worlds and restore order?
“SOPA is an explosive-device tucked between the legs of a smiling, waving businessman in a teddy-bear costume, asking if you want a Popsicle out of his cellar.
“In legal terms — SOPA is textbook overboard. It’s stated aim is to curb online piracy and restore and protect the rights of content creators. That’s a noble goal. But it gives its wielders oh so much more power than that. It’s like giving a Tomahawk missile to an exterminator to take out a bee hive from your front porch. Sure, the bees are dead but so is everything else in a hundred yard radius.
“Yeah — maybe it would cut piracy back and get bands more money from CD-purchases (because, let’s face it — pirating music does stifle bands’ existences, hurt income and all that for everyone involved = label, label’s employees, producers, studios etc.) however that’s just what SOPA wants you to think its entire cause is.
“What business or school isn’t changed by our ever amorphously-evolving technological times? Paper goods and books in universities are being phased into digital-tablet-read collections; the days of paying for 100’s of crap channels of TV can now be selected through Internet streaming-subscription sites instead; our music collection can now be stored and streamed or rented and constantly swapped in and out.
“This is the technological golden age and all businesses are having to adapt or die. In this day and age business is chaos as things change so fast. That’s why a band like us realizes that — yes — in a perfect world, more people would stop illegally downloading (would you forfeit what you do for a living for free because I said it’s not fair?) and purchase physical CDs or iTunes bundles or get their music from other ‘authorized’ sources. But the fact is the CD aisle in Best Buys are shrinking and the old record stores are up closing shop. Bookstores are going away. Video rental stores? Dead. That’s the thing — adapt with the times… You have to. Physical has given away to digital for the most part.
“We recognize being a band nowadays that things are changing. For us musicians, it is better for us to support programs pushing authorized digital purchasing or streaming of music, selling merchandise on tour and being on the road constantly to turn a profit. This is the life we chose. But the way we all approach the issue of supporting digital rights is a very important issue of our time in that we need to respect the rights of content creators but we also need to support the free flow of information and ideas online. SOPA is not the solution of that balance.
“It was cute that my recent ‘royalty check’ caused such passionate backing and distaste. The truth is is that I said no side that I was taking. That picture had no information of a political-stance of ‘anti’ or ‘pro’ piracy; did I say in the oh-so-arrogant tone, ‘Listen here, you fucks! Screw your parents — download my shit for freeeeeeahhhh!’ Did I say, ‘Hey um… It’s totally not sweet that you bros aren’t buying my totally awesome new album from your local record store?’
“Hell — did anyone even take the time to try to think what it was actually for? It was a royalty check from an authorized streaming website that shouldn’t have even sent it to me. They were supposed to send it to the publishing company to accumulate, then send.
“I allowed everyone to decide. But I do appreciate that they actually took the time to legally license the stream and send me the check. Thanks for that.
“I appreciate the people that love and back our band backing me… And those who, even though can’t stand anything I ever say — who still take the time to read every word? Thanks for putting your knee-jerk reactions online and getting me more Twitter followers. Maybe next time your brash jab of whose-holier-and-culter-than-though can be slightly more intelligent than ‘look how much more I have than you.’
“This bill, if passed — would set our forward-thinking country back into the informational dark ages. This country was founded on escaping from persecution of what we were ‘supposed’ to live like – to be free to do what we want to do in the pursuit of happiness and longevity in life. SOPA would fling the USA into a digital online backwater overlorded style-controlled society, potentially creating a situation where regulations tell us what we can say and do. Controlling what we learn and say.
“Where are all our backers of ‘constitutional amendment rights’ when our first amendment is at stake? America is the informational and technological super power in our time. Look at Apple — always 10 steps ahead of what all the other technological-superpower companies are always bringing to the table. They brought iTunes to us because they knew people wanted their music quicker; the got rid of the cd-drive because people wouldn’t be using CDs; they developed easily-useable cloud-style file-storage. That company was founded in this country where so many flock to start up their dreams — not unlike being in a band.
“My stance: should people take groceries because they’re hungry? Should you give me a car because I need it? Should I be granted free manicures and pedicures and meat and tuxedo rentals simply because I think it’s not fair that I pay? No tips at restaurants, no fees at bars, free drinks on you just because? No. I’m not a religious person at all — but thou shalt not steal… Or some shit like that, right?
“The times of the blacksmith and butcher and hunter have changed to the car-maker, the deli owner (with online deliveries over $20), and the farmers’ market chef who hunts with a precision laser sighted cross-bow.
“We all still need to make ‘a living’ to stay living. But a movement like SOPA? That will cripple and kill a big part off of this free country we all live and love in.
“What needs to happen?
“The head honchos of the music and movie businesses who are backing this SOPA need to go meet up with and make friends with tech guys in Silicon Valley instead of fighting. They should go out for drinks and figure it out together one night. Surely there is a better solution out there that supports and protects the rights of us content creators online but one that doesn’t potentially cripple the free flow of innovation and thought online.”